the cool one ?

when my son was first born, we lived in a small college town, and thought we’d be right in there with all the cool college kids. until we realized that all those “kids,” only a few years younger than us, didn’t even see us – we were invisible, we were grown-ups, and not  cool.

later, when we lived in a small neighborhood, most of the kids spent a significant part of their time in our back yard. i was the home parent, and got to know most of their friends pretty well. i always imagined myself the cool parent, like the kids thought i was all that and a bag of discount-store chips. i think, now, that, back then, kids didn’t make that distinction, and i was just another grown-up, making pbjs and pouring juice and breaking up fights. as long as the food kept coming, that’s as close to cool as i was going to get. maybe “cool” was not a lable kids that age made between gown ups.

it struck me quite suddenly when i discovered, many years later, when my kids were in high school and after, that i was not, after all, the cool parent. my wife had ably and without hardly trying taken that role. benzo or robin will bring a bunch of friends home for the weekend, and, while it’s true, alison does nearly everything host-wise for the weekend, i do what i am able. but when they leave, they are all over her, thanking her, and telling benzo and robin (as we hear later) that they think their mom is really cool. i guess i’m ok with it, (ok, maybe a little bitter.)  but i always imagined myself as the cool parent. maybe my turn will come later.

deftly changing the subject, i am considering a baclofen pump to deal with my almost constant wood-like leg muscles. i’m not sure i like the test for it (an injection of the medication into the spine), or the implant part (another surgical procedure) and the list, as usual, of bad side effects to watch for is a bit scary, i have very high hopes – not too high i hope – that the end result will be that i’ll be able to walk a lot better – no more frankenstein walk, and that i’ll be able to spend more of my day as a bi-ped. i hope i am not setting myself up for disappointment – i have not even discussed this with my neuro yet.

still, it is a lovely fall day, and i am enjoying the few maples in the woods outside my office window slowly turning red and gold. i love fall.


Author: stephen

stephen harris is a writer, painter and a photographer who lives with his family in maine.

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